One Corillion (Age 7)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Place Values, Big Numbers. Book: The Number Devil by Enzensberger. Pages 40 – 46.
  2. Topic: Place Values. The kids wrote down a big number like 92,103.  Then they rewrote the number like: 3 * 1 + 0 * 10 + 1 * 100 + 2 * 1000 + 9 * 10000.
  3. Topic: Big Numbers. I printed out Wikipedia’s page about the names of large numbers, and read them to the kids.  Then each kid picked a large number like 1 octillion, and wrote out all the zeros.  Finally, each kid got to pick an unnamed number like 10^405, and name it.
  4. Topic: Coordinate Graphing. The kids each got a graphing worksheet from  These sheets listed a bunch of points like (2,3), and when complete, there would be a picture.

How did it go?

We had all five kids this week.  It was a slightly wild circle, but went pretty well except for my daughter getting upset when she made mistakes on the coordinate graphing. (She insisted on doing it in marker, but then would cry if she got any point wrong!).

The Number Devil

The kids really do enjoy this book.  They like how mean the number devil is to Robert.  We had several interesting side conversations inspired by the book about the big numbers, and infinity.

Place Values

I thought this would be easy for the kids, because the Number Devil had done exactly this exercise, but it turned out be hard for several of them.  One kid got it right away.  Two more got it with minimal help, and the other two needed more help.

Big Numbers

The kids loved hearing the crazy names of huge numbers, like 10^57 = Octodecillion.  Then we each picked a big number and wrote it out on paper.  One kid picked Centillion which is 10^303.  I’m not sure he actually wrote 303 zeros, but he definitely had a lot.  Finally, we each got to name a large number.

I named 10^204 a Corillion.

We also had:

10^150 = Cupcake

10 ^ googol*googol*googol = Pendrillion

10 ^ centillion = peppermint

10 ^ octillion = horsie

Cartesian Picture Graphing

I had printouts for three different sets of points that would draw pictures. These were single-quadrant pictures (so no negative numbers).  At first the kids needed lots of help, but soon they started to catch on and make progress. There was a bit of drama whenever someone would make a mistake, but most kids handled it pretty well.

My daughter was pretty upset whenever she made a mistake, but she didn’t have to leave the room.  After circle, she kept working on her picture, at first crying, and then finally laughing once she got efficient at graphing points.

Desperately sad...

Desperately sad…

...then happy!!

…then happy!!


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